"I'm Not Dead" (La Face/Zomba)
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IT'S not easy being Pink. Critically praised for her adventurousness early on, the Pennsylvania-born pop star has selected interesting creative allies and blended R&B, punk, metal, hip-hop, rock and more into a somehow cohesive musical persona.
But although 2003's rock-heavy "Try This" made the Top 10 and the single "Trouble" scored her a Grammy, recently folks (read: critics) have been wondering where she's been. As the highly appropriate title of her new album (due in stores Tuesday) advises, Pink's indeed not dead but still doing what she's always done.
These 13 tracks incorporate epic rock, acoustic folk-pop, synthy new wave, piano balladry and soul and hip-hop flavors. They hang together mainly on the force of a multifaceted personality that resists the air-headed plasticity of Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson in the hilarious feminist romp "Stupid Girls," taps her inner Ani DiFranco on the confrontational "Dear Mr. President," and exorcises old demons in the confessional "Conversations With My 13 Year Old Self."
It's hard to doubt that song's sincerity, but Pink's at her best with snarky, catchy bits such as "I Got Money Now," a savage sendup of pop's nouveaux riches. The more serious numbers often feel clunky, especially next to the bonus song "I Have Seen the Rain," a simple, powerful duet with her Vietnam-vet dad, Jim Moore. His tune about his war complements Pink's own protest of her times, providing yet another facet to savor.